Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Wisdom of the Desert

"The story is told that one of the elders lay dying in Scete, and the brethren surrounded his bed, dressed him in the shroud, and began to weep. But he opened his eyes and laughed. He laughed another time, and then a third time. When the brethren saw this, they asked him, saying: Tell us, Father, why you are laughing while we weep? He said to them: I laughed the first time because you fear death. I laughed the second time because you are not ready for death. And the third time I laughed because from labours I go to my rest. As soon as he said this, he closed his eyes in death." (Thomas Merton, trans., The Wisdom of the Desert [Selections from the Verba Seniorum], p. 105.)
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